Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat met with Ramon Gil Casares — Spain’s Ambassador in Cairo — on Saturday to discuss bolstering cooperation between Egypt and Spain in the fields of R&D and IT.
More specifically, the meeting tackled mechanisms for attracting Spanish investments and cooperation in the fields of digital government, the electronics industry, support for technological innovation, and the implementation of joint R&D projects between the two countries.
The meeting was attended by Amr Mahfouz, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA); and Javier Ponthe, Director-General of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI).
Furthermore, Talaat expressed his aspiration to open new horizons for partnership between the two countries in the areas of digital government and the provision of digital services in light of the Egyptian state’s interest in establishing centres of excellence and providing high-quality digital services, praising Spanish expertise in these areas.
He also pointed out that a R&D centre is being established in Knowledge City, which is located in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) and will include an electronic design centre to provide an integrated environment for the design and development of electronic circuits and systems. It is also where about 40 companies specialised in this field will be located.
For his part, Casares indicated that this visit comes as a continuation and extension of the visit paid by Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Egypt last December, which focused on strengthening bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of scientific research, IT development, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.
He also explained that cooperation between the two countries over the past years has resulted in the development of digital applications and joint scientific research in the field of advanced technologies.
Casares stressed that in the context of this fruitful cooperation, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ITIDA and the CDTI was renewed.
Additionally, Mahfouz explained that Egypt has a large base of skilled youths, as about 60,000 young people graduate from specialised colleges in the fields of engineering and computer science annually that are ready to enter the labour market.
He also pointed out that Egypt provides software services at a competitive cost compared to competing countries in Eastern Europe, and that Egypt has strong electronics design, outsourcing, and cross-border services industries, expressing his aspiration to consolidate Egyptian-Spanish cooperation frameworks in the field of cybersecurity and new areas in light of the aforementioned MoU.
Moreover, Ponte affirmed his keenness to cooperate with Egypt in the fields of IT and software related to electric cars and cybersecurity. He added that there have been many Spanish companies that have cooperated with Egyptian counterparts over the past years, enabling them to obtain great experiences in the Egyptian market.
The ITIDA renewed the MoU with CDTI within the framework of the Egyptian-Spanish Information Technology Innovation Programme (ESITIP) to support cooperation between companies and research bodies implemented by the authority.
The programme provides the opportunity for companies from Egypt and Spain to submit their proposals to be paired with an industrial or academic partner. The projects, however, are subject to the joint approval of the Egyptian and Spanish authorities.
A new session of the programme is expected to kick off this November. This edition of the programme aims to support and finance joint research projects in the fields of cybersecurity, AI, electronics, and other fields.